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Queen of Tejano Music Laid to Rest

April 3, 1995

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) _ Selena, the queen of Tejano music, was laid to rest Monday next to a mesquite sapling, her grave heaped with 8,000 white roses, and the woman accused of shooting her was charged with murder.

``We feel like we’ve had our hearts ripped out. There’s so much emptiness now,″ said Jimmy A. Gonzalez, marketing director at the 23-year-old star’s Corpus Christi recording studio. ``There’ll never be another Selena, I tell you that. She had everything in one package.″

Selena Quintanilla Perez was shot to death Friday at a budget motel, where she had gone alone to meet Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of her fan club who had become her personal assistant.

The Grammy-winning singer was going to fire Ms. Saldivar for allegedly embezzling from the club.

The 32-year-old nurse from San Antonio confessed to the shooting, District Attorney Carlos Valdez said. Ms. Saldivar remained in jail, where she has been since her arrest after a standoff at the motel.

More than 30,000 fans filed past Selena’s casket during a public visitation Sunday.

Fans were kept out of the burial Monday at Seaside Memorial Park & Funeral Home. About 600 relatives, friends and music industry officials attended, with each mourner placing a white rose on her casket, already piled high with flowers.

``She would want everyone to go on, including her fans,″ said Don Shelton, who sang backup in Selena’s band. ``She would want everyone to treat every day like a new day and hold their heads up.″

Selena’s brother, bassist and songwriter Abraham Quintanilla III, embraced her guitarist husband, Chris Perez, before a brief prayer service.

``We’ve really appreciated that at a time like this everybody is ...,″ said one of Selena’s uncles, Eddie Quintanilla, pausing to switch to Spanish. ``Dar su apoyo,″ he finished, meaning ``giving their support.″

The Texas-born Selena, an idol to young Hispanic women, was buried next to a young mesquite, a tree native to South Texas.

She was regarded as the Mexican-American version of Madonna. Her musical roots were Tejano, a bouncy mixture of traditional Mexican music and German polka, but Selena blended in other Latino musical elements, and the sound earned her legions of fans in the United States, Mexico and other countries.

She had been expected to cross into mainstream pop with the release of her first CD in English. But only four songs on the English release were finished when she died, said Abraham Quintanilla Jr., her father and manager.

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